Adjusting to constant change: Transition Training
Wycliffe Today – June 2019 (PDF)
By Margaret Thatcher
One thing all our members have in common is constant change. Giving up paid work, farewelling family, often moving states or countries to get the right training they need for future ministry. When they finally head out to a field, they face even more changes – learning new languages, working in a multicultural team, connecting with a new church or coming to terms with no access to a community of believers at all. Different weather, cultures and expectations. Meeting new friends and leaving old friends. Too many airports! There and back, there and back again.
Each one of these changes brings a period of transition, adjustment, letting go of the old and getting used to the new. It can often feel scary, overwhelming and lonely. But having a group of trusted friends makes a difference. In Perth, we have regular afternoon teas for the mission community to chat about what is working well or what they are finding difficult. It’s a great opportunity to talk with people who understand because they have been, or are going through, it all too.
A helpful way to prepare for any transition, or to support someone who is transitioning, is to consider the acronym RAFT:
Reconciliation: Take time to do what you can to fix any damaged relationships.
Affirmation: Tell friends and family how much you value their friendship and support.
Farewells: Say goodbye to people and places that are meaningful to you to gain a sense of closure and make room for the new. This is also true for children – they need time to acknowledge favourite places, pets and people they will be leaving behind.
Think Future: Start dreaming about what you are looking forward to in your new place and what you can do to make the transition easier.